Tyler Locklear left college more than five years ago, but this week the Magnolia and Littlefield peer mediator is taking classes six hours a day to offer her students more on programs at the Robeson County Career Center.
“I learned how to use math in everyday life such as framing a house, measuring the needed concrete and so many other things I would not have learned in the regular classroom,” Locklear said.
The peer mediator joins dozens of counselors from the Public Schools of Robeson County as part of the first PSRC CTE Career Institute.
“I learned about masonry, carpentry and networking. I learned so much about the brick that I did not know, such as how it relates to our culture and our communities and how those brick represent where you are from. They are actually named from places and areas in the community,” Locklear said.
The Career Institute kicked off Monday to spotlight the 12 Career and Technical Education programs at the Robeson County Career Center. The high and middle school attendees rotate between the classes over a three-day period.
CTE Director Herman Locklear says the event is designed to help high school and middle school counselors have a better understanding of what the CTE courses are as they work with students on class planning, career choices, career cluster pathways and careers after high school.
“Our hope is to have counselors to be so knowledgeable of the program that as they talk to students, they can instantly say ‘here is your match’ at the Robeson County Career Center, instead of students being placed there and they do not want to be there,” Locklear said. “I think it is best said to have students choose a career and not a job.”
Tonya Williamson, a counselor at Townsend Middle School, calls herself a Hilly Branch alumni, but says the Career Institute program is different.
“It is not the Hilly Branch I attended. Today I took part in plumbing, computer engineering, drafting and I thought they were wonderful especially with the chance to be certified in those,” Williamson said.
Gina Jacobs, a counselor at Magnolia School, works with students in grades 6 to 8. Jacobs said her school is offering more career information for students in lower grades and that she now has greater knowledge to share with them.
“I did not know a lot about the Career Center. When students would ask me what drafting is in reading the course description, it was hard to articulate what that is into language they can understand,” Jacobs said. “Now, I feel like I can describe using the 3-D Model maker, building bridges or using the computer to draft house plans. So I feel like I can explain it to my kids in a more simplistic way that they can understand and be excited about.”
After the CTE Career Institute wraps up this week, the counselors will take packets back to their schools. Educators like Tyler Locklear say they have so much more to offer students as they help them plan their future.
“In the fall I want to talk to the kids with the detailed program such as how masonry goes beyond just being about laying brick, but there is an art to it,” Locklear said.